Remember Bernard, the winemaker at Domaine Duseigneur where we did our filming? He was in Stockholm for the launch of the second vintage of their mid-priced Côtes du Rhône “mas louise” (Louise being the name of Bernard’s 17-yr old daughter). In conjunction, the importer Arvid Nordquist invited me to a small lunch at the restaurant Pontus! with a couple of other journalists (i.e. FinareVinare, Sweden’s leading wine blogger). I was so happy to see Bernard again, he really has a good spirit about him, and it is clear that he loves his career change from banker to family winemaker. And I, in turn, love his wines. The mas louise, at 89 SEK (ca 12 USD) is a great value Rhône red that he makes with sourced Grenache and Syrah from other organic vineyards. The 2010 has a bit more Syrah than the 2009 (it was a good year for Syrah, which is intensely fruity in this vintage, but a rough year on Grenache, which got hit by spring frosts during flowering). When I tried the 2010, freshly bottled, at their farmyard winery this spring I liked it more than the 2009 because of the concentrated fruit and good acidity. However, I feel the Grenache in the 2009 is really beginning to express itself, and is showing a nice, earthy structure. We were all surprised to see how well it went with a buttery chanterelle toast!
Rhône wines with their high alcohol, strong tannins and high concentration are generally seen as perfect matches for red meat dishes. However, we had a beautiful cod with fresh horseradish with the Domaine Duseigneur wines Antarès 2009 Lirac and Laudun by Phillippe Faure-Brac. The freshness in the Duseigneur wines must have been the key to the match working well. These wines are both made from old vines on the domaine, biodynamically farmed, with no fining or added yeast. The Antarès Lirac, a GSW mix (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) is one of my favorite wines from southern France, period. It is like drinking a dark summer night in Provence. Smooth like silk, with dry tannins. Perfume of mint, rosemary and liquorish on top of dark cherry and blackberry fruit. The fresh acidity runs like a midnight breeze through the wine.
Another thing I like about Duseigneur is how they combine being a small family domain of several generations with open lines of communication with the consumers. On their latest mas louise, there is a QR code. You scan it with your smartphone (need an app, like i-reader) and it automatically opens information about the producer, reviews, and some footage, as well as several means of contacting the domain. It amused us all around the table for a good 20 minutes.
This lunch was a nice way to start the week, and I am hoping to visit the Domaine again soon. Winemakers like Bernard and his brother (and their wines!) are the reason I made my career change, and it’s good to be reminded.